May 12, 2008

New Computer, New Interweb Issues

Fozec's been planning on building me a new computer for a while.  He's price shopped, analyzed, and otherwise just stopped short of creating a 1:1 scale model of what the new computer would have.  A few months ago we dropped some cash on a major video card that could handle my 24" widescreen monitor.  A healer can't expect to contribute much at 5 fps during raids, so it was a necessary upgrade.
Well, with the fights getting harder and more complex, the rest of my components have become the bottle neck.  Yes, the Dell XPS 400 managed to overcome the blanket of cat fur attached to its fan intake areas and provide about 15-20 fps in the heat of battle.  But when you have about 5 sec to take a portal on Kalecgos, you can start to see the hints of slideshow lag, especially with the load time entering either phase area.
So Fozec bought all the new computer lewts last week.  We're going for "good but economical".  No outrageous prices for bleeding edge technology, but not skimping to save a buck, either.
This was our first home-built computer.  Between us we have 4 Dells and a HP, but this was something we wanted to say we did on our own.  I say we because it was a joint project.  I handled the delicate/tight space things like installing the Intel chip.  He converted like 4 different sets of directions into a viable (and sane) gameplan.  We checked each other's work and tried to offer input if it was something we'd dealt with before.  The biggest unknown was if the giant video card would play well with the new power supply.  It did not like the old one, requiring a ton of 4-prong adapters.  In the new case, this would mean most of the shiny new blue LED fans wouldn't get any power with all the plugs being used by the video card.
It's pretty obvious if the video card gathers up its toys and goes home: the computer won't start up.  At all.  I'm talking not a single fan.  So we held our breath and pressed the button.  Five blue fans sprang to life and the screen blinked, asking for something to boot up with.  Woot!
Unfortunately, this turned out to be the least of our problems.  Long story short, we can't get Windows Vista to install.  After flashing the bios, updating the hard drive firm ware (these were not easy things to do sans a floppy drive, for the record), it looks like the new hard drive is broken.  We can't write to it, nor can we even format it.  Fozec managed to partition it, but that's about it.
So after 2 days, a lot of internet searching, and a few trips to Best Buy, we put my old computer back together for the raid last night.  Of course, about 30 min before the first pull, our internet went out.  We were having really strong winds, to the point our grill tipped over.  Fozec called the phone company (we have DSL).  They spent 45 min of quality time together working on the problem.  When we did get our internet back, it was ssssllllloooooowwww.  Try 1.3k latency slow.  Add to that 2 of our MT's were MIA due to Mother's Day festivities, and yeah...  Suckage all around.  So we managed to clear the SWP trash up to Kalecgos before calling it.  Naturally they dropped nothing besides a couple of measly gems.
Fozec went home during lunch to call both the hard drive manufacturer and Microsoft.  The hard drive guys say it's a bad Vista disk.  Microsoft says it's a bad hard drive.  Since BIOS can't even write to the hard drive and it refuses to be formatted, I'm putting my money with Microsoft, kk.  Apparently there's some hard drive checking utility running and we'll check out the results when we get home.  My crystal ball says to expect a package in the mail soon.

No comments: